Industry insiders attribute the building momentum to the “anti-China” feeling in the Western markets and the consequent shift in their buying to India. In 2022-23, India’s readymade garment exports amounted to $16 billion, an increase of 1.09 per cent over the previous year.
A decline in orders was being faced by garment manufacturers, but things are improving. Even though the volume is not as huge as expected, the flow of orders means the apparel and garments should hit stores in markets such as the US and Europe for Christmas and New Year. However, some of the companies are still in a ‘wait and watch’ mode as there is no clarity on orders among global customers, said sources.
Global brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, Ross, Decathlon, Suburbia, Polo Ralph Lauren, and GAP are major customers for Indian garment exporters.
“We are expecting orders in June. While the US is positive, Europe still needs to improve,” said KM Subramanian, President, Tirupur Exporters’ Association.
N Chandran, Chairman and Managing Director of Tiruppur-based Eastman Exports, said, “Yes, the company has already started receiving orders as anticipated.” With revenues of ₹2,000 crore, Eastman Exports specialises in manufacturing knitwear, high-end apparel, and accessories for high-end global fashion brands.
The global economic slowdown, mainly in the EU, has impacted consumer spending, and demand for textile products (irrespective of the company) has declined. However, “it is a passing phase, and we are upbeat about the surge in demand for the next two years at least post the ongoing phase,” Chandran added.
P Sundararajan, CMD of Avinashi, Coimbatore-based SP Apparels, said the apparel industry has started doing well. Retailers are serious about transferring as much business as possible from China to India as they would see a lot of potential in India, he told analysts while discussing the company’s annual financial results. “The anti-China thing is still very strong. And we are able to experience it,” he added.
According to Vidyuth Rajagopal, Managing Director of Chennai-based Celebrity Fashions, there were initial signs of excess inventory among brands during July and August 2022. The situation was very bad for India’s export-oriented industry from November to February. Rajagopal emphasised the importance of monitoring consumption figures from America during the crucial months of June, July and August. “I hope consumption continues at the same pace over the next 90 days and allows brands to clear inventory,” he said.